After a very feisty day at anchor (yes, even in a secure bay it can get really rough), we planned our retreat from Tadoussac. First a stop at the marina for gas and to replenish our water supply. $10 gave us 3 hours of service (electricity and all the marina had to offer) and Sean, the dock master’s tips of the day: grocery store delivers free of charge and there is a fresh market within walking distance. Best find, eggs that won’t need refrigeration and so much fresh produce.
We left Tadoussace Harbour at the end of high tide…
Past the rippled currents of the Saguenay River…
Saguenay meets Saint Lawrence
…into the mix of water densities between the fresh water of the Saguenay and the salty Saint Lawrence.
With fair weather forecast and favourable winds our target anchorage for the day was back to Anse aux Basques. We feel so fortunate sailing along and seeing all the whale sitings.
At anchor I let loose my best whale watching music…
Whales in Motion
We bathed in a fresh 13 ° C water and we honestly can’t remember when we haven’t had to sail in tuques and polar fleece and when our cabin has been this warm and dry.
The day started very well yesterday. Early morning departure from Berthier-sur-Mer. Winds were strong but manageable so we set sail with full Genoa. Not too much later the winds increased so Genny was furled to 3/4’s…then to1/2…then barely a triangle of a storm sail. Even at that with the wind strength and force of the retreating tide waters we were flying at 9 knots. Because of the speed we reached our day-end waypoint shortly after noon, found what seemed like a protected spot well out of the channel and dropped the anchor. Super rolling water so Francois decided to place the second anchor at 60 ° just in case. We don’t know why, but the boat turned and that perfect ‘v’ completely reversed bringing wave after wave into our back. And as you MacGregor sailors know, the engine well is probably one of this fine boat’s biggest design flaws. Water started gushing into the engine well and of course into the bilge below. With pure brute strength in those 30-40 knots winds and 1-2 metre waves, Francois dragged in the second anchor. His description, like weight lifting for a whole week.
So with everything apparently secure, bucket after bucket of water was emptied from the bilge…from port side then when the boat shifted…from starboard. A little supper straight out of the can. I tried my best to ‘class it up’…grape leaves, camembert, smoked oysters and crackers with a good stiff tot of rum. Only one of those to warm our insides because we knew the storm wasn’t over yet. Even with the anchor digging in we heeled 30 ° port then 30 ° starboard for several hours.
This kind of situation really does dig into a person’s self-confidence. We started doubting that maybe this trip was too ambitious. Could we or would we want to spend many more days like this at anchor? The whole point of equipping R.E.D. the way we did this year was so we could be more autonomous. Up to Berthier-sur-Mer we had been off-grid for 6 days at anchor. We were really proud of ourselves and it was fun…rocky at times…but fun. Now we have been forced to rethink our plans. We talked over supper-from-the-cans then went to bed hoping the weather would calm down during the night.
Sunset and Aproaching Storm
We were so tired and things seemed secure so decided not to do a 2-hour on, 2-off anchor watch. Instead, we put the chart plotter’s visual on the iPad and put the plotter on sleep mode. This way we could view the anchor radius in the relative comfort of the cabin or even in bed.
Well, things got worse…much worse. Just before midnight we were hit with the first storm, a really severe squall. It lasted only a few minutes but it was fierce. Within a half hour the second round hit. More fierce winds, this time with pelting rain. Then another, this time with thunder and lightning. We watched from our berth the visual of poor R.E.D. circling her mighty Bruce anchor, thinking that any minute the line would surely break. But she held fast. At one point, I heard Francois say: “You’re a brave little boat, R.E.D.” I didn’t feel so brave at that point though. Francois being the calm one, put together our contingency plan should the anchor break. We prepared ourselves, got dressed and waited. Another storm hit us. I’m no longer allowed to say: ‘well it’s calm now’ because every time I did another storm would hit us. And it did, one more time. Around 04hr00 things seemed to slow down. I kept my mouth shut. We slept. We got about an hour of sleep before the alarm woke us at 05hr00. Time to grab a coffee and take advantage of the high tide.
So there you have it! Still uncertain how far we will go on this trip but reaching Tadoussac is on the horizon, meeting up with friends, then possibly crossing over to the south shore and home. We’ll see. Today was an amazing beginning after last night. So much beauty from so much hell. Confidence is bolstered…for now.
Sunrise over Baie Saint-Paul
Morning Fog Bank Lifting
…and the one thing that erased all the hell from last night. Francois found me a pod of Balugas romping on the shoreline. We respected the 400 metres distance but there they were, little mounds of white in the cold blue water.
Much more to come from our brave little R.E.D., her trusty companion Ballon de Rouge, the mighty Bruce and her crew.